News, updates, and so much more…


More small businesses compliant with COVID-19 regulations

The Ontario government is seeing a greater number of small businesses complying with COVID-19 safety requirements. During follow-up visits for educational workplace safety campaigns, provincial offences officers found that approximately 73 per cent of businesses were in compliance with public health measures and compliance increased by 20 per cent.

Workplace inspections continue to focus on educating small businesses across the province to help them reopen safely. Where needed, follow-up visits were conducted with a focus on enforcement. Follow-up visits are currently taking place in Eastern Ontario, Durham Region and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, and are scheduled for York Region, Waterloo Region and Windsor-Essex.

Businesses can access free training and assistance, including the workplace safety plan toolkit, live webinars on how to operate a business safely and comply with COVID-19 health and safety requirements, and a 30-minute online course on infection prevention and control provided by the Public Services Health and Safety Association.

Assistance and support for small businesses is available from the Provincial Employment Standards Information Centre and Occupational Health and Safety Contact Centre.

City of Welland
For Immediate Release
MARCH 18, 2021
Welland, ON – The Welland Jackfish, members of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) have announced a press conference to be held on Monday, March 22nd at 5:00 p.m. in front of Welland Stadium located at 90 Quaker Road.

In attendance will be Jackfish President Ryan Harrison, City of Welland Mayor Frank Campion and Councillor Tony DiMarco.

The Jackfish would like to invite all media to attend, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we please ask that all media please RSVP here.

At this time, fans will not be permitted to attend for which the Jackfish will livestream our announcement live on the clubs Facebook and YouTube pages.
For more information, please contact team President Ryan Harrison at 905-735-9834.
The Welland Jackfish are a member of Canada’s best league, the Intercounty Baseball League. The over 100-year old summer league is one of the oldest baseball leagues in the world, with the league established in 1919, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. For more information, visit www.wellandjackfish.com or follow the Jackfish on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @wellandjackfish.

Staying Mindful When You’re Working Remotely, Alyson Meister, Amanda Sinclair, Harvard Business Review

It’s no surprise that online work is depleting our energy and resilience. The evidence shows that many of us are working longer hours, suffering chronic stress, and burning out at levels the world has never witnessed. At the same time, we’re longing for and losing our social connections and sometimes experiencing profound loneliness and grief in solitude. To regain energy, find renewed pleasure in our work, and truly connect with colleagues and friends, we need to find ways to block out the noise in our virtual reality.

One way we can do that is through cultivating mindfulness — online.

Mindfulness is the choice we make to be present in the here and now: This moment, in this meeting, with this person or group of people. Research shows that most activities of our working lives, from working on an independent task to team meetings and one on ones, benefit from being conducted with mindfulness. By pausing, checking in with others, or starting meetings with a few moments of meditation or reflection, stress levels drop and we feel more connected to our purpose and to others in the room. We listen better and feel happier.

But how can we be mindful in an online working world? How can we be truly present for others when we couldn’t be (physically) farther from one another?

City of Welland
For Immediate Release
MARCH 18, 2021
Welland, ON – The City of Welland would like to remind all local restaurants and retail businesses that earlier this year Council passed the extension of the 2020 streamlined approval process for temporary outdoor patios, adding outdoor displays for 2021.

The following temporary city initiatives will be in effect for 2021:
·      Temporary patios and/or outdoor displays permitted on private property that comply with city guidelines.
·      Road occupancy permit fees waived for businesses for the 2021 calendar year related to patio installation and/or outdoor displays.
·      Cash-in-lieu of parking requirement for outdoor patios at $0 per parking space for the remainder of 2021, where there is a need to convert required parking spaces into a temporary outdoor patio. Applicants will be required to enter into an agreement with the City of Welland.
·      Site plan exemption fees waived for outdoor patios and/or outdoor displays for businesses
·      Existing approved outdoor patios and outdoor displays on private property are permitted to continue without the need for additional approval from the City, unless there is a proposal to enlarge and/or create a new patio

We encourage all residents of the Niagara Region to learn about the public health and workplace safety measures for each zone under the colour-coded response framework https://covid-19.ontario.ca/

The following provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 and its regulations apply to outdoor dining at restaurants and bars:
·      If an outdoor dining area at the establishment is covered by a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other element, at least two full sides of the entire outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.
·      If the outdoor dining area at the establishment is equipped with a retractable roof and the roof is retracted, at least one full side of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.

Capacity limits for outdoor dining are based on physical distancing requirements. Capacity is limited by the ability to keep 2 metres apart from others within the outdoor dining space.

For more information regarding patios on public sidewalks or parking spaces and outdoor displays, contact 905-735- 1700 Ext. 2212 or email genssvp@jryynaq.pn. For more information on City of Welland COVID-19 recovery, visit welland.ca.

2021 Ontario Budget – The Ontario government will release the 2021 Ontario Budget on March 24, 2021.

Support for Homeless Shelters – The Ontario government is providing $255 million to help municipalities and Indigenous program partners respond to an increase in COVID-19 cases in some emergency shelters and help keep vulnerable people safe. The new funding will protect homeless shelter staff and residents, and help prevent more people from becoming homeless. Details HERE 

Support for the Music Industry – The Ontario government is investing $2.5 million through the Unison Benevolent Fund’s COVID-19 Relief Program and the Canadian Live Music Association. This funding will help ensure Ontario’s music industry is strong, vibrant and remains a source of pride for the province. Details HERE 

Tourism Economic Recovery Task Force – The Ontario government announced a new Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force. It will be chaired by former MPP and Cabinet minister Tim Hudak, and give expert advice and recommendations on how to help the province’s $36-billion tourism industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The mandate of the voluntary task force includes providing strategies and advice that will help position Ontario and its local communities as destinations of choice for travel, as well as identifying products and experiences that enhance destination development. It will also offer a forum for sector partners and leaders to share ideas, collaborate, and provide advice and information to the minister on approaches to support the economic recovery of Ontario’s tourism industry. Details HERE.

The Ontario Small Business Support Grant

The Ontario Small Business Support grant provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 and can be used in whatever way makes the most sense for individual businesses; from paying employee wages, to offsetting the cost of rent, to purchasing inventory.

More than 78,000 Ontario Small Business Support Grant applications from small businesses across the province have been processed, representing more than $1 billion in support. Upon approval, successful applicants will receive payment within 10 days. 

Applications are still open until March 31, 2021 and a detailed step-by-step instructional video on the application portal is available to help guide applicants through the process.


Niagara Region seeks residents to sit on new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee

Niagara Region is seeking interested community members to join its newly approved Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.
Approved in early 2021, the committee will play an important role in carrying out Regional Council’s commitment to making Niagara a more diverse and welcoming community. Members will work with Regional and municipal staff and the Niagara community to provide Regional Council with recommendations to address bias, racism, and discrimination, and promote understanding and inclusion.
The committee will include 10 members of the public and one Regional Councillor. The Region is particularly seeking residents from across Niagara who represent the growing linguistic, racial, cultural, sexual and spiritual diversity of our community, including:
  • Indigenous individuals
  • People of colour and members of racialized communities
  • Francophones
  • New immigrants
  • Members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Seniors
  • Individuals living with low income or experiencing homelessness
  • Post-secondary students and youth
  • Members of various religious communities
  • People of all genders

Interested residents can ap​ply online for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee until 4 p.m. on Friday, April 9, 2021.

Governmental Financial Support and Resources:

Employment Insurance (EI) program reforms receive royal assent

The Government of Canada put forward legislation to increase the maximum number of weeks available to workers through EI regular benefits. Last night, this legislation, Bill C-24, received Royal Assent. Workers claiming EI regular benefits can now access up to a maximum of 50 weeks for claims established between September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021.

In addition, self-employed workers who have opted in to the EI program to access special benefits are now able to use a 2020 earnings threshold of $5,000, compared to the previous threshold of $7,555. This change is retroactive for claims established as of January 3, 2021 and applies until September 25, 2021.

In addition to Bill C-24, new regulations to increase the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Benefits have come into effect. This includes an increase in the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) by 12 weeks, extending the maximum duration of the benefits from 26 weeks to 38 weeks. It also includes an increase in the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) from 2 weeks to 4 weeks. Individuals can access these additional weeks through the Canada Revenue Agency beginning on March 18, 2021.


Alexis Higginbotham
Executive Director
60 East Main Street
Welland, ON
L3B 3X4
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